As I mentioned yesterday, Brendan and I have been drowning a bit in fresh produce this week thanks to our CSA. Not that I’m complaining. There is no such thing as too much produce to use; it just means I have to get a bit creative with how I use it. Because let’s be real. We live in a small apartment, with one average-sized fridge. And with a huge bag full of broccoli rabe taking up one of our shelves, the rest of our fridge was getting sort of cramped. To top it off, this is the week that we’ve barely been home for dinner. Thanks to end-of-the-school-year madness, we’ve been running around to awards ceremonies and graduations. On the bright side, we’ve been fed at each of these events! On the down side, I haven’t had the opportunity to cook and was starting to fear the longevity of our vegetables. So I decided to do something different and use up the broccoli rabe in a way that I knew it would stay for a while: pesto!
When I mentioned what I was planning, Brendan looked at me curiously. “Isn’t pesto made out of parsley?” he asked. “Basil,” I explained, “but this will work too, I promise.” Because, you see, I’ve watched enough of the Food Network to know that you can make a pesto out of pretty much any green that will puree up in the food processor. And I can now say authoritatively that broccoli rabe fits into that camp.
Without a doubt, this was outrageously simple to make. Blanche greens. Put in food processor. Turn on. Eat. I wish I were exaggerating, but no. It’s honestly that easy to make. And the results? Absolutely awesome! It tastes so fresh, and the greens meld with the pasta to make me happy. I prefer it with the addition of pecorino romano cheese, but it’s really good all on its own as well for a vegan dinner. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this!
Broccoli Rabe Pesto
- 2 large bunches of broccoli rabe, thick stems trimmed
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ – 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp fresh cracked salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup pecorino romano cheese, optional
- 1 lb pasta, cooked according to package directions (I used a brown rice and quinoa pasta)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for two minutes, then remove and drain (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pot).
- Add broccoli rabe, garlic, peppercorns, red pepper, and salt to a food processor. Process on high, while slowly pouring in the olive oil. The pesto should thin out to a nice, spreadable consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary (if you’re using the cheese, it is okay if it lacks a little bit of salt, as the cheese will add that).
- You can stop here and refrigerate or freeze at this stage. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Stir in cheese, and toss with hot pasta (I also used some fresh tomatoes). If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with a bit of the starchy pasta water. Serve hot, with additional cheese or black pepper to taste.